WINNER OF THE 2015 GEORGE WASHINGTON PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2015 PULTIZER PRIZE IN HISTORY
In this powerful narrative, Nick Bunker tells the story of the last three years of mutual embitterment that preceded the outbreak of America’s war for independence in 1775. It was a tragedy of errors, in which both sides shared responsibility for a conflict that cost the lives of at least twenty thousand Britons and a still larger number of Americans.
Drawing on careful study of primary sources from Britain and the United States, An Empire on the Edge sheds new light on the Tea Party’s origins and on the roles of such familiar characters as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Hutchinson. At the heart of the book lies the Boston Tea Party, an event that arose from fundamental flaws in the way the British managed their affairs.
With lawyers in London calling the Tea Party treason, and with hawks in Parliament crying out for revenge, the British opted for punitive reprisals without foreseeing the resistance they would arouse. For their part, the Americans underestimated Britain’s determination not to give way. By the late summer of 1774, the descent into war had become irreversible.
At the end of 1618, a blazing green star soared across the night sky over the Northern Hemisphere. From the Philippines to the Great Lakes, the comet became a sensation and a symbol, a warning of doom or a promise of salvation.
Two years later, as the Pilgrims prepared to sail across the Atlantic on board the Mayflower, the atmosphere remained charged with fear and expectation. Men and women readied themselves for war, pestilence or divine retribution. Against this background, and amid deep economic depression, the Pilgrims conceived their enterprise of exile.
Within a decade, despite crisis and catastrophe, they built a thriving settlement at New Plymouth, based on beaver fur, corn and cattle. In doing so, they laid the foundations for Massachusetts, New England and a new nation.
Using a wealth of new evidence - from landscape, archaeology and hundreds of overlooked or neglected documents - Nick Bunker gives a vivid and strikingly original account of the Mayflower project and the first decade of the Plymouth Colony. Making Haste from Babylon tells the story of the early pilgrim settlers in unrivalled depth, from their roots in religious conflict and village strife at home to their final creation of a permanent foothold in America.
Nick Bunker worked as an investigative reporter for the Liverpool Echo, and for six years he wrote for the Financial Times. He was an Open Scholar at King's College, Cambridge, where he won two university prizes. He has two graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York, where he studied under the late Professor Edward Said. While at Columbia he began his travels around the United States.
For many years, he served as a board member, treasurer and Chairman of the Trustees of the Freud Museum in London. He now lives in Lincoln, near the villages from which the leaders of the Plymouth Colony came.